Three years ago (almost exactly to the date) I wrote a post sharing the news about a difficult and serious infection that I had developed that landed me in the hospital plus I was finally cleared to share the exciting news that I had signed a book contract with Tate Publishing.
I can still remember signing the contract, feeling so sick, and laughing a bit that after so many years of praying for a season of writing ministry to be opened that this was the timing that the Lord had. It seemed (to me) that a different season- one of perfect health - would be much better. But as I have learned again and again on this journey the Lord's plans and ways are different and better than we could ever have imagined.
Eight years ago on this date (it was a Friday) I was finishing up teacher in-service, preparing my room, getting last minute lesson plans finalized, copying syllabi, and finalizing decorating my classroom. (If you are a former student, then the last one is probably making y'all laugh. You know how I loved my room to be decorated. *smiles* And Jen, you are probably giggling remembering that we were also trying to safety proof the room. *smiles*) I remember pausing somewhere in the morning and looking out the huge wall-to-wall picture windows that my school room had and wondering what the year ahead would bring. I had absolutely no idea how my life would be shattered and how I would spend the year not ministering as much as I thought I would but being ministered to and deeply loved by my school community and the graduating class of 2009. While I think of many of my students often and spend time praying for them, these past few weeks, and especially today I have welled up with tears so many times as I realize the story could have been so very different if I hadn't been the recipient of such extreme love by so many people that year. People that consistently and courageously and compassionately shared God's love in a million practical and gracious ways.
God, in His infinite and amazing kindness continues to weave a story of love around our brokenhearted times. His mercy is never ending and compassion knows no limits. So today I wanted to share a few glimpses of some old pictures ... a look back in pictures from a year that is the foundation of the book... and a time when there might have only been tears was covered with the precious reminder that God was ever-present in the dark.
In looking ahead to the release of December Caravan tomorrow (ahhhh!!) I thought it would be fun to share a short video of a few pictures from that beautiful, messy, hard, difficult, fun, wonderful, awful, fantastic, and most precious year. The year that I grew up a lot. The year that everything changed. The year that extreme grace was shown. The year that I laughed way more than I cried. The year that I fell more in love with the Lord.
To the WCA class of 2009, thank you. Your love, your encouragement, and your selfless care for me will always be remembered with humility. You brought laughter when there would have been tears and a precious reminder that God was ever-present in the dark
and to the WCA community who showed me what community rooted in God’s love and grace looks like… it was a piece of Heaven I will cherish forever.
While there are so many precious moments that I have no pictures of, and so many amazing people who are not shown in this video, I hope that what you see is the joy of being reminded that there is always hope in the dark night of suffering and pain because of an ever-present God. The video has a song that has extreme sentimental value... just one small gesture of love from students whom I am honored to call friends... looking for music that was not a country break up song for their teacher. Unfortunately I played it a thousand times over they year and they probably never listened to it again. *smiles*